It has been a lovely spring overall, though we’re about to get blasted with a late hard freeze certain to kill almost everything that has emerged. I feel so sad and powerless; I expect a cherished magnolia will die as a result, as it has already lost all leaves twice this spring to previous unseasonable hard freezes.
Meditation on my morning walk
‘Tis a grey day in May,
much colder than anyone
expects, with a hard freeze
predicted for the end
of the week. I long to throw
a blanket over the whole
yard, big enough to cover
even the mature ashes
with pinnate leaflets unfurling
tiny and chartreuse.
other likely victims of the impending freeze – naturally, this is the most blooms we’ve ever had on the yellow irises
More than once today a gust of wind ripped the car door from my grasp as I opened it. Luckily, I wasn’t next to another car on any of those occasions.
the winds of March have come
early to clear the trees of old
leaves and dead wood and push
the stale pestilence of winter
ahead of them, leaving
hope in their wake
Others may gripe
about the late spring
snow shower, but I smile
because the flowers
are not fooled.
It’s been a while since I posted, so I decided to write a mediocre poem in honor of the vernal equinox. Please feel free to leave a response or make suggestions!
she scatters promises like rose
petals at a wedding; their confetti
rains down around her, grand
marshal of her own parade, and we
the adoring crowds line festooned
streets to welcome her, eager
to catch a glimpse as her parti-
colored float drifts past
Do you know why they have to drag poor old Punxatawny Phil out of his lair every year? It’s because he knows that the beginning of spring isn’t tied at all to whether or not he sees his shadow. Like all intelligent creatures, he realizes that spring begins the day that pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
Seeing as that event is inevitable and preordained by powers other than himself, he’d just as soon stay tucked up in a cozy ball of rodenty slumber. Who wouldn’t?
But those nasty men in top hats and weird coats nevertheless haul him out by the scruff of his neck to stage their little weather charade. You can tell from their antiquated dress that even they recognize, in their heart of hearts, that the whole thing is a sham: meaningless, outdated, and entirely superseded by the National Pastime.
And don’t fall for any of that vernal equinox nonsense, either. Regardless of where the planet is or what angle the sun is at, spring begins on the day when pitchers and catchers report, which this year falls on February 11. I mean, come on: they don’t call it winter training — it’s SPRING training. Ergo, it must be spring.
So the next time you find yourself wondering when spring will begin, don’t go dragging any large rodents out of their dens. Just check the baseball calendar.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged baseball, calendar, catchers, groundhog, Groundhog's Day, National Pastime, pitchers, Punxatawny Phil, spring, spring training, vernal equinox
I’ve been taking a poetry writing class, which is in part why I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been reading and writing and going to class, and that hasn’t left me time to tend the blog. (Sorry!)
One of the class assignments is to respond to daily prompts. Because of my schedule, these tend to be dashed off in half an hour or so, which has been very fun and freeing. It doesn’t necessarily lend itself to great poetry, but it most certainly is great practice.
Here’s what I wrote in response to the prompt “perfect”:
the mitt rests against his thigh
throwing arm loose at his side
he lowers his head, blocks the batter
with the bill of his cap
signals flash between the catcher’s knees until
he looks away and brings
the mitt to his chest
his fingers find the seams, wrap
around the ball as he goes
into his motion and delivers
the perfect pitch
(By the way, spring begins in only TEN DAYS with the four most beautiful words in the English language: “Pitchers and catchers report.”)
Not really; it’s been in the upper 80’s (F) all week. But the ornamental pear trees that line the street look a lot like they did a couple weeks ago (minus the tiny green leaves), when each branch was weighed down with a tiny mound of snow.
Each time a bird alights in or takes off from a tree, there’s a little shower of white petals. Last evening I heard small voices giggling and shrieking, “It’s snowing!” Down the street, two children were tossing twigs into the trees and dancing around in the resulting cascade.
For a few magical days, snowy white petals will swirl on the breezes and form car-blown drifts in the street. Despite the ridiculous heat, it really is only spring.
It happens every spring, though I always forget that fact until it happens again. (I call this SAD: Seasonal Amnesic Disorder.) The weather gets nice, the spring rains begin, and the ants appear in the house. Usually it’s the largish black ones, the ones that make me worry that maybe they really are carpenter ants. (They’re never actually that large; I just get paranoid at times.) They drive us crazy for a few weeks, and one day they disappear as mysteriously as they appeared.
This year, the annual invasion was by tiny, black Argentine ants, also known as sugar ants. Even the smallest of crumbs isn’t too small to be overlooked by these tireless little scavengers, and it takes a horde of them to break up and carry off anything bigger than a poppy seed. The upshot? My counters have been immaculate since the beginning of April! I wash dishes as soon as they are dirtied; I even wipe behind canisters and small appliances EVERY DAY!
Sometime in the last week, the ants pretty much disappeared, without warning or fanfare or apparent reason. I see the occasional scout ant here or there, but I make a point of wiping around it when I do. I don’t wish it any harm; in fact, I’m rather grateful to it and its cohorts for reforming my habits a bit. Knowing what a lousy housekeeper I am, the universe has found a way to get at least a little spring cleaning out of me by means of a few (thousand) humble ants.
I’m afraid I’ve overdone it. Again.
Come fall, a gardener’s thoughts turn to the planting of spring-blooming bulbs, which have to be planted NOW. Last year I waited too long to purchase my bulbs in the mistaken belief that I could get them on clearance if I waited until retailers deemed the season for planting to be over. Not only did I not get any bargains, I had a drastically reduced selection from which to choose. Even then I bought more than I was able to plant, for we ended up having a very wet fall and early winter: my soil is heavy clay and impossible to work while wet. Half of them ended up in the compost this spring, having rotted in their bags in my garage.
A week of clear, dry, autumn weather got me thinking about fall planting and the beautiful mature gardens I left behind when I moved to the Bluegrass. One tulip in particular was my very favorite, a double late tulip called ‘Uncle Tom’ — a deep, rich maroon flower so petaliferous that it looks a peony or an overblown rose. I fired off a wistful email request to my mother-in-law for her to visit my favorite garden center in all the world (Natureworks in Northford CT) and get some bulbs for me.
Wondering if ‘Uncle Tom’ is still available, I went online to see if I could find it. Before I realized what I was about, I had placed an order for 50 bulbs! (I must say I showed remarkable restraint, however, getting the smallest possible quantities of only two narcissi, two tulips, and two alliums, none of which are available in stores around here.)
A couple days later, my dear mother-in-law let me know that she’s bringing me a box of bulbs at the end of the month as requested. In my excitement over finding ‘Uncle Tom’ I had completely forgotten about the email I had sent her!
So now I face the daunting prospect of getting 100+ bulbs in the ground before spring. Luckily, the soil doesn’t usually freeze around here until January or February, so I have a little time.
I just hope we don’t have a lot of rain.
Today is the March equinox, to use the globally correct term. The terms vernal or spring equinox are accurate only in reference to the northern hemisphere, whereas the equinox is a global phenomenon. According to some, this marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, but my own sense of the day has always been that it marks the midpoint of the season and that the cross quarter day (Groundhog’s Day/Candlemas/Imbolc) marks the beginning of the season. This impression has been strengthened mightily by my relocation to a slightly lower latitude, where early spring bulbs can often be found blooming before the end of February. Even this year, when we had a longer, harsher winter than of late, spring is decidedly in full swing now and well beyond the starting point.
So happy equinox day, and happy spring!